Penn State Intercom......October 25, 2001

program will
hone staff skills

The Human Resource Development Center is soliciting nominations for a new professional development program that focuses on enhancing the comprehensive skills of University administrative and staff assistants.

The Office Professional Certificate, which will be offered for the first time in the spring, is the initial program in a broader curriculum called Office Professional Excellence.

Comprehensive information gathered from several sources guided development of the program. Data from a benchmarking study of similar programs, several focus groups, a systematic analysis of administrative and staff assistant duties, and feedback from participants were considered when structuring the curriculum. As a result, five critical competency areas emerged to define the structure for the Office Professional Excellence. They include communications, teamwork and diversity, professional excellence, office technology, customer service, and University goals and operations.

The Office Professional Certificate program includes 10 half-day seminars. Each seminar emphasizes skills, resources and timesaving tools to foster stronger achievement in attaining unit priorities. The learning activities include interactive scenarios, small group discussions, a self-directed office technology portfolio and an individual project that will directly relate to the participant's work unit.

Successful completion of this course will qualify an administrative and staff assistant for the equivalent of six months of work and/or education experience when bidding on open positions. The University central administration is supporting the cost of the program so that the total fee for the department is $325 per participant.

Nominations for the first offering of the Office Professional Certificate are being solicited from University Park deans and executives. To continue to foster understanding and respect across organizational areas, participants will be selected in a manner that ensures a diverse mix of participants in each section of the curriculum. Selection of participants is not based on performance in the workplace. There are 30 seats available for the initial offering. Subsequent offerings of the Office Professional Certificate will be offered to all campuses.

For information, call David Piltz at (814) 863-4614, e-mail, or call Kimberly Ensign at (814) 865-3304, e-mail